Politics Sex

Joe Biden’s Inept Response to Tara Reade

“Look in the safe, officer, that’s where illegal drugs would be stored. I guarantee there are no drugs in the safe. I encourage you to look in the safe.” What about the cookie jar? “Drugs would never be stored in the cookie jar. That’s only for cookies. But I can’t let you look at the cookies. Have you checked the safe?”

From Morning Joe on MSNBC

“No. It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never happened and it didn’t.”

OK, for this post, I am going to take the former Vice President at his word. I’m going to assume, at worst what may have happened is Biden was being his usual creepy self, that Reade was disgusted by it, that she wanted to help sink his nomination along with the other seven women who came out to testify to his creepiness, and when that didn’t work, she added a false “pussy grabber” element to her story to supercharge the allegation.

Just for this post.

After directly presenting Tara Reade’s allegation and Biden’s denial, Mika Brzezinski presses on, asking him if he remembers Reade and remembers any complaints.

He addresses the latter point. Neither he nor his staff recall any such complaint. Does he remember Tara Reade, though?

Brzezinski asks if Biden or the campaign has reached out to Reade. No, he says, because it was 27 years ago and it didn’t happen.

You don’t reach out in any way to someone making a false allegation against you? OK.

I’m an open book. Singular.

Brzezinski brings up Biden’s Medium post from this morning, where he says any complaint she had would have been filed at the National Archives. Biden wants the Archives to search for Reade’s complaint, which he is confident does not exist.

Brzezinski agrees that New York Times interviewed his staff and they remember nothing of Reade. Would Biden open his records to unearth records of any complaints, not just Reade’s alleged one?

Biden is fine with that, saying he’s “an open book, there’s nothing to hide.” He’s confident there are no complaints against him in the National Archives.

Brzezinski then shocks me by quoting Biden during the Kavanaugh hearings, saying, “we have to start with the assumption that the essence what she is saying is real.” Biden repeats that it isn’t real and that he’s always said to believe women and then vet their stories.

After denying he’s ever had anybody sign an non-disclosure agreement, Brzezinski asks why, if Biden’s seeking transparency, he doesn’t release his Senate records held at the University of Delaware, where Reade alleges the complaint would be found.

That’s where Biden’s defense goes off the rails. He resists the notion of opening up “public records, my speeches, my position papers” because a personnel complaint wouldn’t be in those records. Then he pivots back to calling for a look in the National Archives for a complaint that’s not there.

Um, why would an “open book” want to keep his public records, speeches, and positions hidden?

The Drugs Can’t Be in the Cookie Jar

Plus, this focus on the National Archives as the only place evidence supporting Reade’s claim could be found sounds a bit like “Look in the safe, officer, that’s where illegal drugs would be stored. I guarantee there are no drugs in the safe. I encourage you to look in the safe.” What about the cookie jar? “Drugs would never be stored in the cookie jar. That’s only for cookies. But I can’t let you look at the cookies. Have you checked the safe?”

Brzezinski shocks me again by following up, asking Biden why not just limit a search of his Delaware records to Tara Reade’s name?

Biden then spends the better part of a minute once again telling us that you don’t store drugs in a cookie jar, let’s go look in the safe, that’s where drugs go.

Brzezinski asks again if he thinks the essence of what Reade claims is real. Biden won’t address her motivations, again referring to how old the alleged incident is and how none of his staff interviewed by media have any recollection of a complaint.

Brzezinski corners him. “Why is [the essence] real for Dr. Ford but not for Tara Reade?”

They dance around some of the same points for a while until Brzezinski comes back to the topic of Biden’s Delaware records. Why were they scheduled to be publicly released, then they were sealed, then the seal extended to long after he’s left public life?

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Biden’s explanation left me gobsmacked. He discounted the idea that his speeches, interviews, and positions from his decades in public office should be revealed while he’s running for public office!

“The idea that they would be made public while I was running for public office, they could be really taken out of context. The papers are position papers, they are documents that existed, for example, when I met with Putin or met with whomever. And all that to be fodder in a campaign at this time, I don’t know of anybody who’s done anything like that.”

Joe Biden, explaining why his records of his Senate career stored at the University of Delaware shouldn’t be searched exclusively for references to Tara Reade.

Along with old age, fading acuity, nepotism, corruption, race, immigration, and creepiness, add “minutes from meetings with Putin” to the list of issues on which Biden can’t credibly attack Trump.

Again, Biden pivots to the National Archives, because that’s where personnel complaints are filed, and there are none there. Brzezinski won’t be distracted, asking him, aside from personnel records, is he confident there is no mention of Tara Reade in his Delaware records?

Biden says he’s sure she’s not in there, so Brzezinski asks if that’s true, why not approve a search of her name in those documents?

Biden is flummoxed about the idea of searching for a name in documents if you know there’s no name in those documents to find. She won’t let it go. If he approves a search of “Tara Reade” in the National Archives (where it presumably won’t be found), why wouldn’t he approve a search of “Tara Reade” in his Delaware records (where it presumably won’t be found)?

Biden tries again to explain that his Delaware records contain personal conversations and privileged information with world leaders that shouldn’t be revealed. Brzezinski isn’t fooled. “I’m just talking about her name,” she persists.

“Who would look that up?” Biden asks, as if anybody is proposing to just take his entire Delaware record set and upload it to WikiLeaks.

Kudos to Mika Brzezinski for not conducting a softball interview. Biden’s answers did him far more harm than good. He could have just said, “Unlike Trump, who won’t release his taxes, his transcripts, even his report cards, I am an open book with nothing to hide. While I won’t reveal privileged info unrelated to this inquiry, I welcome scrutiny on this.”

Instead, this gets to be the drip-drip-drip of “Butter Emails” from 2016. So afraid that revealing some minor foible will empower the opposition, Democrats instead empower them with the greater concern: that there’s something unknown, bigger, shadier going on because they refuse be transparent.

I can only surmise that Tara Reade’s name does show up in the University of Delaware records, in some memo or notes that could very well just be the staff firing her for legitimate reasons, but Biden fears it will be twisted to bolster her case, thus all his concern about being “taken out of context.”

Why else does he want us to so thoroughly search the safe, but gets defensive whenever we talk about searching the cookie jar?